Young at Heart was written by Johnny Richards with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh. The seminal recording is the first; Frank Sinatra recorded it on December 19, 1953. The song has been covered by many eminent artists, from Bing Crosby to Bob Dylan. In the 2018 documentary If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast, it is sung by Dick and Arlene Van Dyke.
If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast features 95-year-old comedian Carl Reiner (who created the Dick Van Dyke Show), showcasing celebrated people who were thriving in their 90s and beyond. For the scene where Dick and Arlene sing Young at Heart, Reiner arranged for it to be recorded and filmed at Capitol Studio in NYC, where Sinatra recorded.
For the recording, Dick Van Dyke is given the “Sinatra mic.”. While his voice has lost some of its depth, it is still instantly recognisable to anyone who knows it. What Van Dyke’s voice has lost in resonance is compensated for by his sense of phrasing and his timing. He is also helped by Arlene, who has a warm, pleasing voice that compliments his. She also has great timing. Also, given the lyrics of the song, it is the most appropriate song for Van Dyke and his wife to sing in the documentary.
Incidentally, Arlene is 46 years younger than Dick Van Dyke, and he credits her with keeping him young at heart. Tellingly, See It Live describes Dick Van Dyke “as the man with the catchy songs and dance moves in films our grandparents adored.”. While he is best known in the US, where he hosted long-running TV shows, in the rest of the world he is known for his roles in the Disney movies Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Here is the trailer for If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast:
Carl Reiner, the director of the documentary, is now in the obituaries. He died of natural causes at his home in Beverly Hills, California, in June 2020.
In March 2023, Dick Van Dyke made headlines around the world when he sustained moderate injuries when he crashed his silver 2018 Lexus LS 500 into a gate during a heavy downpour in Malibu, Los Angeles. His nose and mouth bled, but he was “alert and oriented,” according to paramedics.